Through the Cracks Ch1 bit – Obfuscation

“She used blood-magic?” Elspeth’s eyes narrowed. “So that’s why you smell of it.”

“Elspeth-dono.” Kenshin’s voice was level. Calm. But violet eyes had taken on the same blue sheen Kaoru had seen when he faced the yakuza; hot and dangerous as mine-gas flame. “It was many years ago. Nothing to speak of now, in these peaceful times.”

:He’s warning you off, Elspeth,: Kaoru said privately. :He’s trying to be polite about it. He knows you’re gaijin. He’s assuming you don’t know how deeply you just insulted that woman. But if this were Yamato and you were a samurai, he’d have cut you down by now. From the sound of it, she died an honorable death, and used that death to make sure he would live to carry out his duty. For a samurai, that ranks her up there with King Sendar and every Herald who’s thrown himself between Valdemar and doom.:

:Do all Yamato kill first and ask questions later?: Elspeth said dryly. :Your stray may not be the sharpest knife in the armory, Kaoru, but I doubt he’s dumb enough to attack an Adept.: “You should let Darkwind work on that. Tayledras have a knack for Healing dark magic.”

Kenshin slipped out from under the Hawkbrother’s hand, stance relaxed and ready. “Do not trouble yourself, k’Sheyna-sama.” He smiled, the fierce blue gone as if it had never been. “Sessha has carried this mark many years. It is… honorable… to recall a brave lady’s sacrifice, that it is.”

“Honorable.” Darkwind looked as if he could think of far less flattering terms.

“Remember what your distant cousins say, Tayledras. You can kill a man with a handful of maggots, if you must.” Kerowyn made shooing motions. “Out, out. It’s a long ride to Hardorn, and Tremane won’t like it if he has to deal with grumpy ambassadors.” A quick grab, and she had Yahiko by the hair. “That goes for you too, Myojin. I know your teacher. I guarantee she’s not going to go any easier on you tomorrow just because you spent last night chasing assassins.”

8 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch1 bit – Obfuscation

  1. So either this Kenshin hasn’t sworn off killing, or he has and Kaoru doesn’t know, or Kaoru is simplifying so that ‘back off’ remains clear.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kenshin is probably the best person, in some ways, for Elspeth and some others to learn how to not to speak to a samurai. Because as you mentioned above, nearly anyone else and either one or both of them would be dead where they stand.

    And Elspeth, you might want to remember that one does NOT have to be an Adept to kill you. Because you seem to have forgotten that having the ability to use magic, even powerfully, does not make you immortal. All he has to do is be able to kill you faster than you can cast. And you sound like you are well within in Kenshin’s striking distance.

    Through to be fair to Elspeth, she has never seen Kenshin fight and doesn’t know just how fast he is.

    Still underestimating someone just because they can’t use magic – that she knows of – is a good way to get yourself and possibly others killed.

    There is a line between confidence in your abilities and overconfidence and I think she’s dancing on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *Rueful* One of the main themes in the Last Herald-Mage trilogy and books past that in the timeline is supposed to be that Heraldic Gifts are just as powerful, in their own way, as magic.

      And then Valdemar gets Mage-Heralds, and everyone seems to conveniently forget that. Argh.

      So, yeah. Right now Kenshin looks small and injured and innocent, and is definitely not a mage. So… heh. He’s trying to play to her overconfidence. And give Elspeth credit, he’s fooled more experienced people than she is….

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Part of why Kerowyn should take point on this is that she apparently hasn’t been as fooled, and is picking up more of the subtext.

        Plus, ‘one arm and a short sword’ is ‘no threat’, and someone got rid of the long sword and other arm, who really does not want to kill. Who is a good enough swordsman and maybe something else to do that against a swordsman/blood mage.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. And give Elspeth credit, he’s fooled more experienced people than she is….


        It does generally take experience of some sort to see past Kenshin’s mask.

        And sometimes even people who do realize he’s more dangerous than he might look still don’t realize just how dangerous.

        Wonder how many Valdermarians have heard of the Demon of Kyoto . . . and how many of them have dismissed most of the stories as impossible or exaggerated . . . which to be fair, some of them are.

        Probably confusing to some people about why would someone would feel need to make up stuff about Hitokiri Battousai to make him scary when the pure, unvarnished facts are scary enough all by themselves.

        Liked by 2 people

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